Apron with Mrs. Claus on the Front - xTool Projects
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My wife and I decided to make an apron to use on Christmas day for the festivities of family and friends coming over for dinner, fellowship, and of course, gifts. Since it is to be an apron, I figured Mrs. Claus should be the centerpiece. I found a clipart Mrs. Claus online, used it as a guide, and added my own twist. We went to the store and bought fabric for the apron, and felt for the applique.
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Step1
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Required equipment:

  • XTool D1 or D1 Pro, with extension rail – making this without the extension rails will be a big challenge.
  • Sewing machine – while the D1 is the machine that’s cutting out the material (saving wear and tear on our hands), it is not the only machine you’ll need.
  • Iron – for ironing on the felt pieces


Here’s our shopping list:

  • 1 ½ yards of fabric of your choice. In our case, we found a green and red plaid that we felt was perfect.
  • Felt
  • Red – for the hat, coat, and lips
  • Black – for the boots
  • White – for the fluffy trim on the coat and hat
  • Off-white – for the hair
  • Pink – for the rosy cheeks and nose
  • Green – for the mittens
  • Sparkly blue – for the eyes
  • Grey – for her glasses
  • Light tan – for her face
  • Iron-on fusible material – to stick the felt to the apron – much easier than sewing it all on
  • Pearl beads – for the buttons on her coat
  • Super glue – for those pieces that are too small to try to use the fusible material
Step2
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On to the creation! First, I used my kitchen apron as a pattern. I took measurements, and laid it out in Lightburn, so that I could cut the fabric. The measurements were approximate, and added about 20mm to the edges so that there would be enough material to fold over and make the hem. The straps are made from the same material as the rest of the apron and cut out in Lightburn as well.


First thing to do with the fabric is to fold it down the middle. No point in cutting all the way around, as the pattern is symmetrical, so fold it in half and don’t cut the crease. Iron it flat, with the crease down the middle. If the fabric has a print that has a set pattern, make sure to crease it down the middle of the pattern, so that it is symmetrical. Sounds petty, but it will look more professionally done if you follow this tip. Note that in this picture, the fabric is creased right down the center. The crease is on the side near the iron.

Step3
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Lay the fabric out on the honeycomb, and get ready to cut. But first do a power and speed test. Yes, I do a power and speed test on every new material I try. This fabric cut at 5mm/s at 90% on the 20W laser head, which surprised me. I didn’t think I would need that much power to cut lightweight cotton fabric. 

Step4
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The felt and the fusible material both surprised me when it came to the wild variations of power and speed. I started out on the pink with the 10W head, thinking it would cut easily. I was wrong. My power and speed test just made a huge bright patch of light, as it reflected so much of the laser and didn’t even mark the felt. I switched to the 20w, and turned it up. The first couple of power and speed tests did not turn out well, as you can see in this picture.


Here are the power, speed, and passes settings that I used for each different material:

  • Fusing 30mm/s, 70%, 4 passes
  • Pink 20mm/s, 80%, 3 passes
  • Black 70mm/s, 30%, 2 passes
  • Tan – 50mm/s, 40%, 4 passes
  • Grey – 100mm/s, 60%, 2 passes
  • Red – 80mm/s, 50%, 2 passes
  • Off-White – 30mm/s, 50%, 2 passes
  • White – 3.5mm/s, 100%, 6 passes – Yes, 6 passes at 100%
  • Green – 70mm/s, 40% 2 passes
  • Blue Sparkly – 70mm/s, 70%, 2 passes


As you can sees, yes, you do need to do a power and speed test on every change of material. Even though the felt was all the same type of material, the colors made a HUGE difference. Compare the white to the black. Complete opposites of the power and speed spectrum.

Step5
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Once you get all the materials cut out, stick the sticky side of the fusible web to the felt. You can piece it together to see how it is going to look, as I did here. It made my wife happy to see this.

Step6
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Sewing

Next, make the straps for the apron. Fold them in half longways, with the good side of the fabric inside, and sew the long edge together, so that you make a tube. Turn the tube right-side out, which can be a pain, but it’s not that hard to do. Once they are right-side out, press them such that the crease follows the patter, if there is a print on the fabric that would make a difference (as ours has). The wider strap will be the neck strap, and the narrower ones will be the ties in the back.


Fold the edges of the fabric over twice, approximately 1cm each fold, so that you hide the cut edge of the fabric, and sew it up. When you get to the areas where the straps will go, put the straps in before sewing.

Step7
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Once you’re done with the sewing, you’ll piece together Mrs. Claus, place her on the apron however you wish, and press them on with an iron, following the directions for whatever fusible web you use. Ours says to use steam, so we did. Use a small dot of super glue to stick on the parts that are too small for the fusible web, like the eyes, glasses, nose, and whatever you choose to use for buttons on her coat.

Step8
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You can embellish your apron further by adding some words, snowflakes, or other cheery additions. For ours we added a "Merry Christmas" greeting surrounding The Jolly Old Wife of the Jolly Old St. Nick.

Step9
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Lessons learned:

  • Next time I would pick out a fabric that is lighter in color, in order to give more contrast to the colors used, so that the embellishments (Mrs. Claus) would be easier to see
  • Always do a power/speed test
  • Different colors of the same fabric will require different power levels and speeds, as well as a different number of passes
  • Don’t forget to do a power/speed test
  • The power required to cut very light colors is astonishing – the felt fabric is not dense, so the fibers reflect the light through the fabric very well
  • A power/speed test is a requirement
  • The amount of light that is refracted when cutting light colors is unbelievable. Even with orange safety glasses, and a laser-specific piece of orange plexi (not just any orange, but designed for blue lasers), I was seeing spots after watching it cut the pink and the white
  • Use a lower power and higher number of passes to prevent turning the felt into a molten blob of plastic – or worse, a fire
  • Did I mention the necessity of a power/speed test?
Step10
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Thanks for reading through this – I hope you enjoyed it. Now that I’ve done it, my wife is trying to think of ways to digitize sewing patterns, to save her aging hands the wear and tear of cutting the fabric with scissors. I’m sure I can find a way to do that… 😉


I hope that you’ve found this helpful, and I hope that yours turns out great!

Design Files
Apron Cut Pattern.svg
Merry Christmas Cut Letters.svg
Mrs Claus Shapes.svg
Christmas
Mrs. Claus
Apron
Cooking
Sewing
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